Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Session No. 25: Love Lager

Yesterday, being the first Friday of the month, it was the day for The Session: Beer Blogging Friday.

And again, I'm late by a day.

The Session no. 25: Love Lager

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community which was begun by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, all participating bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin’s nice archive page.

This month's topic was hosted by The Beer Nut from Dublin (the one in Ireland):
For millions of people the word "beer" denotes a cold, fizzy, yellow drink -- one which is rarely spoken of among those for whom beer is a hobby or, indeed, a way of life.

So for this Session, let's get back to basics. I'm sure I'm not the only one whose early drinking career featured pale lager in abundance, so consider this a return to our roots as beer drinkers. Don't even think about cheating the system: leave your doppelbocks and schwarzbiers out of this one: I want pilsners, light lagers, helleses [an almost Gollum-like sibilance!] and those ones that just say "beer" because, well, what else would it be?

Earlier in the week, the entire U.S. East Coast had been scraping off and shoveling out from under a snowstorm. Overnight temperatures were in the single digits (that would be the negative teens for you Celsius followers).

But yesterday afternoon, it was 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 °C), and the scent of Spring was palpable.

I stopped in at my local in Alexandria, Virginia, a beer bar and restaurant called Rustico, where, adding a techno-geek slant to the day, I posted this Tweet (as the 140-character scribbles to the Twitter site are called):
On a spring-like winter's afternoon, a hoppy Pils is so appropriate. Draft Stoudts at Rustico in Alexandria VA. #beerspotter #thesession

And indeed it was. Crisp and bright, with an herbal/grassy nose, a firm sweet malt middle, and a bracing finish. Goldilocksian: just right.

By the way, those mysterious hashmark phrases were searchable terms for fellow Twitterers. "#thesession" put my post alongside anyone else who was posting about The Session on Twitter. "#beerspotter" alerted DC-area beer drinkers looking for good draft beer.

Reading some of the full blog posts (that is, many more words than a mere 140 characters) linked to The Beer Nut, I noticed a 'Letters to the Editors of Playboy Magazine" quality (not that I've ever, ahem, read the column). As in: "Since my college days, I haven't enjoyed lagers, until today, when quite unexpectedly ... ."

Assaulted as we are by over-hopped ales, it can be a 'Saul on the road to Damascus' experience to rediscover the subtle qualities of elegance and FLAVOR actually found in well-made light-hued lagers. And, of course, just because a beer is a light-hued lager, doesn't mean its brewer can't similarly over-hop it (using that term not in a pejorative sense).

A couple of Stoudt Pils into the evening, I ordered a margherita pizza. I was a couple of Pils into things, so I was, naturally, engaged in good bar conversation.

Chef Morales, seeing my pizza under the heatlamp, came out to the bar. "Tom," he asked, " if I placed one of your Brunellos under a heat lamp, would you be pleased with the result? Your pizza is ready ... now!"

Chastened, I returned to my seat, and ate my pizza. And ordered another Stoudts Pils.

Caveat: I am employed by a northern Virginia wholesaler that distributes Stoudts beers (and Brunellos).

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